2004 Sim Game of the Year
2004 was a great year for Indie Sim games.
Just for comparisons, in 2003 we combined the Strategy, Sim, RPG, and Sports
Categories into a single "other category." This we have broken most of
those categories out into their own categories (the rest will show up in the
special awards category). Sim was especially strong itself, showing that
Indie Sim games can match up to and in many cases beat the many mainstream Sim
games available. (and notably missing from this list is the renown
unfortunately has higher system requirements than most people can meet, but if
you can play it, check it out :)
5th Place - Starport Command
|Release: August 2004
Requirements: 1000 MHz CPU, Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 128Mb RAM
whatever reason, this year has been the year of the Space Station Sim. Ok,
perhaps not really, but with the release of Starport Command, there have been 3
different Space Station building games released this year. Each of them has been
fairly different, with the pure comedy of Outpost Kaloki, the very mentally
challenging Space Station Manager, and now joining them is Starport Command
which offers a piece of the mental challenge in building, and adds preparing
your station for battle.
Starport Command offers a different style of
game playing than most are used to, creating a combo sim/action game that
provides an interesting twist to your typical sim game. When a battle is raging
and you're desperately hoping your station will pull through, it is really quite
fun to play. For those looking for a different spin on building a space station
than just the strict building, Starport Command is a game you should check out.
I got into it a little deeper and was destroyed by the first alien attack that
came my way I started to dig a little deeper and I liked what I found."
4th Place - Aerial Antics
|Release: January 2004
Requirements: Win95/98/ME/2K/XP, 400 Mhz CPU, Direct3D 7+, 16 MB 3D
Video, 64 MB RAM
a spiritual successor to a portion of the Pilotwings game, Aerial Antics
provides players the opportunity to fly around interesting and quite varied
landscapes with a jet pack. The game provides the challenge of hoops to
fly through, pads to land on, not to mention the giant balls that you have to
kick through rings on specific levels and the joy of having bombs to drop.
While working on making pinpoint landings you also have to keep a careful look
at your fuel as running out leads to the not-so-pleasant scenarios of your
character dropping to the ground.
The real highlight here is the cartoon-y
graphics, which are well above average and make good use of Garage Games Torque
engine. The only difficulties I ran into with the game come when you try
to play with anything other than an analog stick. However the controls
offer a wide variety of options that should make this game accessible to just
those who loved Pilotwings, and for those who never got a chance to play it, I
highly recommend checking out Aerial Antics!"
3rd Place - President Forever: 2004
2004 being an election year we got a big grouping of inevitable Presidential
campaigning simulation games, but one game was way above the pack. In
fact, even though we are past the election there is still plenty of fun in this
game as it includes past races (Nixon vs Kennedy anyone?). One of the
truly great features of this game is its multiplayer abilities that will let you
hook up with four of your friendly political aficionados to try and out campaign
them. The multiplayer portion of this game is good enough to give any
Mario Party game a run for its money.
In PF: 2004, you determine your line of attack,
research topics, deliver speeches and choose the states that you are going to
focus you, and not to mention who your vice president will be. There is a
plethora of options available to you, but you must remember to keep things under
control. Spend your energy or your budget too soon and you will find yourself
limping towards the finish line. Between the easy to pick-up,
well-designed game play and the very solid player involvement in this game, not
to mention the chance to campaign against your wife or friends, it's not hard to
see why we heartily endorse this game!
always amazes me how games can take something that might seem like a difficult
concept to turn into a game and make it shine."
2nd Place - Smugglers 3
Niels Bauer Games
|Release: January 2004
Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
3 scores big points for providing such a rich storyline despite a few grammar
problems that show up in the text. The story draws you in with constant updates
as to where your faction lies in regards to the conflict and encounters with
other star vessels that help make you feel as though you really are engaged in
the conflict. The game also offers amazing depth and development as you
continue on, hiring crew and accepting ever more perilous and complicated
missions throughout multiple star systems.
The graphics in the game are done quite well and do a wonderful job of keeping
you interested in the systems, weapons, and peoples in the game, though they are
not the newest 3D graphics available. Each of the characters and screens is
very well-rendered, and I think most people will be pleasantly surprised at how
well the game looks as the screenshots don't really show it off very well.
Smugglers 3 is a game that delivers a high-quality gaming experience that is
well worth the money spent on picking up a copy for yourself.
who enjoy space simulations along the lines of Master of Orion or Starlines
INC. should give Smugglers 3 a try."
2004 Sim Game of the Year - Outpost Kaloki
|Release: September 2004
Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 450 MHz CPU, 8MB Video Card
Outpost Kaloki you play the role of a space station manager - but don’t worry,
this is not some dry technical simulation. The gameplay here is easy to pick up
and always has a fun, upbeat vibe thanks to the great graphics and soundtrack.
From the moment I first booted it up I knew this wasn’t going to be like the
other management games out there.
Each time you are assigned a new build project you are also given specific
construction and/or business goals to be met. The gameplay takes place in a
colorful real-time 3D environment that allows you to rotate your view to any
angle around the station. Visiting ships continuously arrive and depart through
warp gates and it’s up to you to serve their needs by building expansions that
offer information and services.
The graphics in Outpost Kaloki are top notch and
oozing with character - like a classic Saturday morning cartoon brought to life
in 3D. I half expected to see Bud Lightyear streak across the screen as the
highly polished and consistent graphical quality of this game almost makes it
look a Pixar license.
Given the fantastic visual quality one would
expect that, like so many games, the audio would suffer from lack of attention.
Surprisingly, this is not the case as the music in Outpost Kaloki is just as
appealing and quirky as the graphics. The soundtrack consists of fun, swinging
tracks reminiscent of classic big bands and goes perfectly with the games visual
With such a dirge of horrible management games
out there it’s great to see a developer like Ninja Bee outclass all the
competitors (both indie and mainstream) with quirky gameplay and amazing
production values. If you’ve been avoiding management sims because “they all
suck!” then do yourself a favor and give Outpost Kaloki a try.
clean interface and graphical styling in Outpost Kaloki absolutely puts to
shame every other “tycoon” style game I’ve seen this year."